Emergency rooms across the United States have seen an increase in the number of users of synthetic drugs. Lawmakers at the local, state, and federal levels have called for increased regulation of these substances that are often legally sold in establishments after being marketed as “incense,” “plant food,” or “potpourri.”
Synthetic drugs are often designed to resemble illegal controlled substances but are made with other legal man-made chemicals that still provide users with some euphoric effects of an illegal drug. Florida has dramatically increased its enforcement of synthetic drug possession, and criminal charges in these cases can be just as serious as those that would be associated with possessing the controlled substance that a synthetic drug is supposed to mimic.
Lawyer for Synthetic Drugs Arrests in Brooksville, FL
Were you arrested in Central Florida for any kind of alleged criminal offense involving a synthetic drug? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. as soon as possible.
Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls represents clients accused of drug crimes in Hernando County, Pasco County, Sumter County, and Citrus County. He can review your case and help you explore all of your legal options as soon as you call (352) 593-4115 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Synthetic Drugs Crimes in Florida
- What is considered a synthetic drug?
- How can people be punished for synthetic drug crimes?
- Where can I learn more about synthetic drugs in Brooksville?
Article III of Chapter 21 of the Hernando County Code is known as the synthetic drug ordinance. The Hernando County Board of County Commissioners declared that the products and synthetic substances described in the synthetic drug ordinance are commonly used as alternatives to marijuana, psychoactive drugs, stimulants, and other illegal drugs, and declared illegal the sale, giving away, offer or advertisement for sale, manufacture, compounding, and public display for sale, of synthetic substances that mimic illegal controlled substances, which have not yet been categorized as illegal controlled substances under federal or state law.
Hernando County Code § 21-33 provides the following definitions relating to synthetic drugs:
- Contraband bath salts — Any substance or product, whether in crystal, powder, pill, tablet, capsule, liquid, and other forms, containing a synthetic stimulant or to which a synthetic stimulant has been sprayed, applied, or otherwise added, and that can be consumed or placed into a pipe, cigarette paper, atomizer, or drug paraphernalia for purposes of ingestion by smoking, inhaling, or other method, regardless of whether the substance is marketed as not for the purpose of human consumption, and regardless of how the substance is labeled. Term does not include traditional therapeutic bath salts that do not contain a synthetic stimulant, such as Epsom salts, baking soda, borax, and table salt, among others.
- Synthetic cannabinoid herbal incense — Aromatic or nonaromatic plant material or product, containing a synthetic drug or to which a synthetic drug has been sprayed, applied, or otherwise added, that is distributed in a loose, leafy, powder, or granular form or in a compressed block or blocks that can be crushed to result in a powder or granular form, and can be placed into a pipe, cigarette paper, atomizer, or drug paraphernalia for purposes of ingestion by smoking, inhaling, or other method, regardless of whether the substance is marketed as not for the purpose of human consumption, and regardless of how the substance is labeled.
- Synthetic drug — Any chemical or mixture of chemicals, however packaged, that is structurally similar to synthetic cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC"), or any mimicking compounds of such chemicals, including any related salts, isomers, and salts of isomers that are listed in the controlled substance schedules in chapter 893, Florida Statutes, as amended, or otherwise prohibited by federal or state law. Packaging that indicates, suggests, or implies that a product mimics the pharmacological effects of marijuana, such as "fake pot" or "fake weed," shall create a presumption that the product contains a synthetic drug, as defined herein. Term does not include any substance currently listed in the controlled substance schedules in chapter 893, Florida Statutes, as amended, or otherwise prohibited by federal or state law.
- Synthetic stimulant — Any chemical or mixture of chemicals, however packaged, that has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system and is structurally similar to fluoromethcathinone, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone ("MDPV"), cathinone, methylmethcathinone, methoxymethcathinone, methcathinone, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("MDMA"), 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone ("MDMC"), or any mimicking compounds of such chemicals, including any related salts, isomers, and salts of isomers that are listed in the controlled substance schedules in chapter 893, Florida Statutes, as amended, or otherwise prohibited by federal or state law. Packaging that indicates, suggests, or implies that a product mimics the pharmacological effects of cathinone, methcathinone, methylmethcathinone, MDPV, MDMC, MDMA, methoxymethcathinone, fluoromethcathinone, amphetamine, ecstasy, or cocaine shall create a presumption that the product contains a synthetic stimulant, as defined herein. "Synthetic stimulant" shall not include any substance currently listed in the controlled substance schedules in chapter 893, Florida Statutes, as amended, or otherwise prohibited by federal or state law.
Synthetic cannabinoids are more commonly known as “synthetic marijuana,” with popular brand names including, but not limited to:
- Mr. Nice Guy;
- California Dreams;
- Dead Man Walking;
- King Cobra;
- Atomic Bomb;
- Cowboy Kush;
- Black Widow;
- Daisy Potpourri;
- Zero Gravity;
- Red Magic;
- Black Kush;
- Black Mamba;
- Yucatán Fire;
- Bombay Blue;
- Head Trip;
- Black Magic;
- Kush; and
Popular bath salts or cathinones include, but are not limited to:
- Purple Sky;
- Gold Rush;
- Route 69;
- Arctic Blast;
- White Lightning;
- Purple Wave;
- Blue Silk;
- White Dove;
- Charge Plus;
- Hurricane Charlie;
- Ocean Snow;
- Ivory Wave;
- Lunar Wave;
- Mr. Nice Guy;
- Vanilla Sky;
- Ocean Burst;
- Pure Ivory;
- Bolivian Blast;
- Red Dove;
- Snow Leopard;
- Cloud Nine;
- White Knight;
- Meow Meow;
- White Night;
- C Original; and
- Wicked X.
Under Hernando County Code § 21-39, each incident or separate occurrence of an act that violates the synthetic drug ordinance shall be deemed a separate offense. Violations of the synthetic drug ordinance are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 60 days in county jail.
Florida Statute § 893.03(1)(c) lists more than 200 different “analogs” that include specific synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, many of which are names of complex chemicals. If an alleged offender is accused of possession, sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a synthetic drug classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, he or she can be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
It is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offense occurs in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any of the following:
- A child care facility between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight;
- A public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight;
- A state, county, or municipal park;
- A community center (meaning “a facility operated by a nonprofit community-based organization for the provision of recreational, social, or educational services to the public”);
- A publicly owned recreational facility;
- A public or private college, university, or other postsecondary educational institution;
- A physical place for worship at which a church or religious organization regularly conducts religious services;
- A convenience business (meaning “any place of business that is primarily engaged in the retail sale of groceries, or both groceries and gasoline, and that is open for business at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.”);
- A public housing facility; or
- An assisted living facility (meaning “any building or buildings, section or distinct part of a building, private home, boarding home, home for the aged, or other residential facility, whether operated for profit or not, which undertakes through its ownership or management to provide housing, meals, and one or more personal services for a period exceeding 24 hours to one or more adults who are not relatives of the owner or administrator”).
Even when an alleged synthetic drug crime does not involve a chemical listed under Florida Statute § 893.03(1)(c), prosecutors may attempt to argue that an alleged synthetic drug was “substantially similar” to a listed controlled substance—meaning that a there was only a small change in the structure of what would have otherwise have been an illegal drug—to justify charging an alleged offender with the same crime as though it involved the illegal drug that the synthetic one was intended to mimic. Some synthetic drugs can also be classified as “new drugs” under Florida Statute § 499.03.
Illegal possession of new drugs constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or fine of up to $500. Possession was with the intent to sell, dispense, or deliver a new drug is a third-degree felony.
Article III. Synthetic Drugs | Hernando County Code of Ordinances — View the full text of Hernando County’s synthetic drug ordinance. Read more about the statement of legislative intent, definitions, and affirmative defense to prosecution of a violation of this article. You can also find additional information about limitations placed on the prohibitions and restrictions contained in this section because of action by the United States Congress, a federal agency, the Florida Legislature, or the Florida Attorney General.
Protecting Floridians from Synthetic Drugs — Attorney General Pam Bondi worked with state lawmakers to outlaw 136 individual chemical compounds and helped pass comprehensive legislation that categorically outlawed synthetic drugs in Florida. On this section of the attorney general’s website, you can learn more about synthetic drugs and actions the attorney general has taken. You can also read recent news releases, view an informational pamphlet, and find links to additional national resources.
Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville Synthetic Drugs Defense Attorney
If you were arrested for a synthetic drug crime anywhere in Central Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. defends residents and visitors arrested in Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee, Wildwood, Brooksville, Inverness, New Port Richey, and surrounding areas of Hernando County.
Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Brooksville who can fight to possible get your criminal charges minimized or eliminated. Call (352) 593-4115 or submit an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.